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Vids 4 Grids: Surge Arresters and Switchgears

January 24, 2011 - 5:51pm


This episode of Vids 4 Grids will take us to Hubbell's surge arrester plant in Aiken, South Carolina where we will learn the role surge arresters play in the Smart Grid.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), in partnership with George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College, is producing a series of videos designed to inform today’s students about tomorrow’s possibilities. Targeting high school seniors and first-year college students, Vids 4 Grids will (when all have been produced) consist of 12 ten-minute videos and three 30-minute podcasts to be posted on YouTube. Each video in the series will highlight a particular piece of grid equipment or fundamental concept integral to the deployment of Smart Grid systems.

Through integration into curricula and online posting for open usage, Vids 4 Grids aims to increase awareness and create interest in power systems careers, and ultimately lead to expanded enrollment in classes leading to power system careers. The project encourages industry participation in curriculum development for power engineering and, through the open access of YouTube, increase general public knowledge of the power sector. NEMA expects Vids 4 Grids to help develop the well-trained, highly skilled electric power sector workforce that is essential to implementing a national clean-energy Smart Grid.

Vids 4 Grids is funded by the Department’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability as one of 52 Recovery-Act funded awards for Workforce Development, and is the only one of those selected specifically developing videos. Filming for the videos is done on-site at the facilities of leading power equipment manufacturers. The Podcasts will incorporate open-ended questions with student-selected experts on their experiences in the power sector.

Below are the first two videos in the series.

Hubble Power Systems in Aiken, S.C., manufactures surge arresters, which are vital to improving the reliability of the smart grid. Surge arresters protect electric power equipment from voltage spikes. They are similar in function to surge protectors you have in your house and are important to utilities as they are the only line of defense to protect equipment.

At Eaton Electrical in Greenwood, SC, they manufacture medium-voltage switches. A switch is similar to a panel board -- a large switchgear designed to handle high voltage and high currents used in large industrial facilities, to turn on or off large motors or a switching device for other industrial functions. Learn more about the switchgear device below -- the one at Eaton can handle from 2400 volts to 38,000.

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